Charities are rated based on these independent metrics:
- 15% for fundraising costs and
- 5% for administrative overhead within a reasonable range of 5%-35%
In addition, beginning in 2017, Charity Intelligence's star ratings are also affected by our Impact Rating as outlined below.
Results Reporting (40% of Star Rating)
Charities are rated based on the public reporting of their activities, outputs
Charity Intelligence assigns letter grades according to the following distribution:
Financial Transparency (20% of Star Rating)
|3||Full marks: Audited financial statements for at least the last 2 years posted on the charity's website.|
|2||Audited financial statements for the most recent year posted on the charity's website.|
|0||No marks: Charity did not provide Charity Intelligence with its audited financial statements upon request. Financial statements were provided by
Program Cost Coverage (20% of Star Rating)
Program cost coverage is a financial ratio tool for assessing a charity’s need for funding. It compares funding reserves (liquid assets of cash, cash equivalents
Fundraising Costs (15% of Star Rating)
Ci presents all fundraising costs gross of fundraising expenses. Lotteries and business expenses are not included in fundraising ratios. Total fundraising costs are presented as a percent of donations plus special events revenue. Charities receive top points for fundraising costs below 15%. Charities with fundraising ratios above the initial CRA cut-off of 35% receive no points for this metric.
Administrative Costs (5% of Star Rating)
The administrative cost ratio is calculated by taking the charity’s total administration costs divided by its total revenues less investment income. Charities require a basic level of administrative costs to operate effectively. If these costs are not adequate, the charity risks being less effective. Given this, charities with administrative cost ratios less than 2% lose 1 out of 5 available points for this metric. Charities with administrative cost ratios between 2% and 12.5% (comprising roughly 2/3 of all charities examined by Ci) receive full points for this metric. Charities with administrative costs above 22.5% receive no points for this metric.
Calculation of Star Ratings
Each of the above metrics is weighted to determine the overall charity score. These final scores are assigned star ratings based on roughly 15% of charities being 4-Star charities, 20% being 3-Star, 40% being 2-Star, 20% being 1-Star, and 5% being 0-Star charities. In order to qualify for 3- or 4-Star ratings, charities must also pass the following hurdles:
|Financial Transparency||Rated 1 or above||Rated 2 or above|
|Program Cost Coverage||Below 500%||Below 300%|
|Fundraising Cost Ratio||Below 42%||Below 35%|
|Administrative Cost Ratio||Below 40%||Below 30%|
The current distribution of star ratings for all charities rated by Charity Intelligence is a bell curve with the majority at 2 stars - most charities are rated average.
Since launching charity ratings in October 2014, charities have improved financial disclosure (posting audited financial statements on their websites) and have added more information on results in reports to donors. Grades on donor reporting have increased 14%. Charity Intelligence wants to ensure 4-Star ratings have meaning and go to the 15%-20% of charities with the highest overall score. Therefore, in September 2017, we re-balanced our ratings towards our target distribution.
To assess impact, Charity Intelligence uses what is known as Social Return on Investment (SROI), which is a ratio that measures the amount of value created per dollar donated. Our Impact Rating assesses charities based on both their demonstrated impact as well as the quality of the data available to assess impact. Additional details on our Impact Ratings can be found here.
Ratings fall into 4 categories based on the combination of demonstrated impact and data quality: High, Good, Fair & Low impact.
Impact ratings affect overall star ratings based on the following:
If Impact is High,
If Impact is Low,